James Gandolfini Dies

RELATED:Critics, Celebrities Mourn Gandolfini's Death

Actor James Gandolfini died Wednesday while on vacation in Italy. He was 51.

"It is with immense sorrow that we report our client James Gandolfini passed away [Wednesday] while on holiday in Rome, Italy," said HBO producers Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders, in a joint statement. "Our hearts are shattered and we will miss him deeply.  He and his family were part of our family for many years and we are all grieving."

Gandolfini is best known for his portrayal of mob boss Tony Soprano on HBO's The Sopranos, which ran from 1999-2007. He also appeared in films The Taking of Pelham 123, The Mexican,Zero Dark Thirty and most notably True Romance.

"We're all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a
beloved member of our family.  He was special man, a great talent, but
more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no
matter their title or position with equal respect," said HBO in a
statement. "He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his
warmth and his humility.  Our hearts go out to his wife and children
during this terrible time.  He will be deeply missed by all of us."

“He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time," Sopranos creator and executive producer David Chase said in a statement. "A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, 'You don't get it. You're like Mozart.’ There would be silence at the other end of the phone. For Deborah and Michael and Liliana this is crushing. And it's bad for the rest of the world. He wasn't easy sometimes. But he was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can't explain and never will be able to explain.”

The actor had been working on Fox Searchlight's Animal Rescue and the limited TV series Criminal Justice.

The news was first reported by Deadline.